Explore the Impact of Academic Mentorship
“My Mentor…” posts are short pieces written by members of the Trilogy community to highlight their passion and the mentors that had an impact in their lives. This post is written by Trinity F! A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies, her first love has always been teaching and sharing science. She’s taught engineering and STEM lessons at the Science Museum of Virginia with middle-schoolers, environmental education lessons in natural parks on Nantucket Island with the Maria Mitchell Association, and more recently, led experiential science lessons in the form of field trips to the Cape Eleuthera Institute in the Bahamas. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Library and Information Science with the ambition of becoming a plant science librarian. Trinity looks forward to the new method and audience for sharing her passion for science with others.
Why is education important to you?
Nothing inspires a child more than natural curiosity and I have had the opportunity to harness that energy and educate students in science lessons in a wide range of settings ranging from kayaks to classrooms. The role of education in many lives is often centered around learning details to pass tests, but I savor all opportunities to tailor lessons to broaden horizons and not just increase test scores. Showing the possibilities that can arise from working hard to develop certain skills with real-life results, lifestyles, and careers is a goal whenever I work with children. Memorizing the parts of an animal cell may help with getting a better grade in school, but the true meaning comes with showing the connection between how studying the organelles translates to becoming a cell biologist and working towards preventing or curing cancer. Showing the doors that are possible to open and their corresponding keys is the true purpose of education.
What do you enjoy most about being an academic mentor?
Teaching a large group is rewarding in the energy and excitement that can come with a well-taught lesson, but one-on-one tutoring has an amazing ability to provide a platform for deeper lessons on the character development that comes from difficult work. Seeing the confidence that is built from a child realizing they suddenly understand a concept that they never thought they would grasp is the moment that drives me to tutor. The reoccurring struggle followed by success builds resilient adults and failure is just as important as success in the mentoring process. In high school my track coach gave me a piece of advice that I often find myself repeating to students: “Your weaknesses are your secret weapons. They are shortcuts to improvement.” I always try to use this as an inspiration with children to realize that all people have weaknesses and working on them rather than avoiding them is how to grow.
Who was an influential mentor that impacted your life? How did they help you grow?
My track coach in high school was one of the most influential people in making me into who I am today. The balance of encouraging the big dreams while being realistic about the work that it takes to achieve those dreams, helped me grow beyond what I felt possible. He was always clear that being the fastest was not as important as being the hardest worker. He pushed us hard in our training and workouts, but made it clear that we would only get as much as we put into the workout out of the experience. We learned how much harder it was to do a difficult workout when we complained than when we cheered each other on. So many life lessons were learned on that track and never explicitly taught. The best mentor sets up the situations that encourage a child to learn on their own while being an ally in the struggle for growth.
If you are looking for an academic mentor in Science, Math, or Study Skills, ask for Trinity!
For more on Trilogy's Mentors, follow our "My Mentor..." series.
Here is our last post from Jeffrey T. - The Impact of Academic Mentorship